PORTLAND, we are a protectionist nation. We send our ambassadors in the form of Ike's Wings, Blitzen Trapper, and coffee that sort of tastes like it has rotting fruit in it to sympathetic locales, but we aren't so quick to open our doors to the rest of the world. We look on at our IFC-sanctioned jesters with the bemusement of a monarch who isn't legally allowed to order executions anymore. We grouse and kvetch about people missing the mark when they try to pin us down (well I fucking do, anyway). We are proud, we are indefinable, we are about to complain louder than we ever have before as we hate-watch our way through however many agonizing episodes of The Real World: Portland that MTV has sucked out of our marrow.
Before we burn the whole fucking city down with the collective heat of our snarky, frowning Facebook comments, I ask you... just based on concept alone, couldn't The Real World: Portland be the most accurate depiction of our city yet?
So a half-dozen achingly beautiful people from all over the country move to Portland with the intention of figuring out who they are, combining whatever that is with the existent culture of that city, and exploiting it to gain some notoriety. The Real World, or that band you're going to see tonight? The Real World, or that dude in your gender politics class who's always wearing the spendiest of jeans? The Real World, or the real world? Look, whether you like it or not, The Real World story is happening all around us all the time. MTV is picking up the rent on this particular impossibly luxurious domicile, but let's not pretend like it's the only corporate-sponsored sleep-away camp for the extraordinarily cheek-boned. It's happening. It's happening in your neighborhood.
We can find differences, of course, important differences, really. Rich kids move here to live a certain kind of neo-bohemian lifestyle, sure, but at least they aren't doing it on national television. At least they aren't misrepresenting Portland to the rest of the country. At least they aren't playing the jock/prom queen/third tired archetype, "ummmmm, okaaaaaaay"-ing our city's treasured bookish identity, like we fear The Real World cast will.
So what if they do? Let's not pretend like we all grew up disaffected and jaded like a bunch of fucking Wes Anderson characters. There have been moments in all of our lives when we've caught ourselves blanching at some outlandish Portland bullshit that's crossed our paths.
Plus, should we really be worried that The Real World is going to misrepresent Portland? Have you seen The Real World? It's all drinking and fucking and fighting and crying and taking themselves way too seriously. They judge themselves and each other harshly, they talk heavy shit, they show up to work for like... 10 hours a week. That doesn't sound familiar to you? Sure, someone is following them with a camera, and it isn't Lance Bangs, and that is foreign to us—but outside of that? Sounds as real as anything else that goes on around here.
... I mean, I don't even have a TV, though, so maybe I'll Hulu it or whatever.